Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Orange and Black stand pat

Bud Norris is heading for the Orioles, not the Giants, reports ESPN. It looks like the last deal before the trade deadline.

I guess that the front office did not hear any decent offers.

I'm still kind of stunned that the team isn't performing better after winning the World Series, given that only two major components -- Vogelsong and Pagan -- have been missing.

LET'S GO GIANTS

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

What was the worst thing today?

A. Dodgers beat the Yankees, 3-2

B. Giants lost in Philly, 7-3

C. Brian Wilson signed with the Dodgers

The correct answer is B, followed by A. I'm neutral about C. Frankly, I think Wilson is done.

But in the interest of staying positive, here's the thing -- even the Giants loss has the upside of being possibly the last game Barry Zito will ever start for the Giants. Yes, Ryan Vogelsong will be back soon and we can go back to a rotation of Cain-Bumgarner-Lincecum-Gaudin-Vogey. The other four guys have been throwing OK lately so perhaps we can start a win streak soon. Like tomorrow.

Henry Schulman's game story for the Chron says Guillermo Moscoso -- the only trade the Giants have made so far -- is a possibility to start in place of Zito. 

I've had it with Zito -- nice guy but a head case; not worth the $126 million. Managed to get hot/lucky for the final 11 starts of 2012. The deal is still a ripoff.  

Monday, July 29, 2013

Roger that!

Kieshnick, Pill promoted

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Are they ever going to win again?

I had the dubious pleasure of being at Chavez Latrine today for the Dodgers 1-0 walkoff win over the Reds and got to scoreboard watch the Giants go behind 1-0, tie 1-1 and lose to 2-1 to Cubs.

I guess that winning will start on Tuesday

LET'S GO, GIANTS!!!!!!

"A team going nowhere"

Hoo boy

There's 60 games left so that's plenty of time for a turnaound for the Orange and Black but the pro sportswriters who watch the team every day have given up this season. Here's part of John Shea's game story for the SF Chron.  

 The Giants made two more errors, giving them a majors-leading 76, and didn't get much of a chance to run the bases. They fell 1-0 to the Cubs and wasted another solid start by Madison Bumgarner, who's destined to become the MVP of a team going nowhere.
The only run came courtesy of a ninth-inning homer by an old friend, Nate Schierholtz, who smacked Sergio Romo's 3-2 fastball over the right-field wall to give Romo back-to-back losses for the first time in his career.
"Just right down the middle," Romo said. "That's what happens. This is the big leagues. You make bad pitches, they'll hurt you. Fastball, tried to go inside. It tailed right over the plate."

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Brandon Belt mans up

Nice to see Brandon Belt say all the right things to Henry Schulman of the SF Chron after last night's horrific loss. 

 "I felt bad for the situation, I felt bad for Sergio, and I felt bad for my teammates," Belt said. "I know I let my teammates down."

Well, it's just one loss. A win tonight over the Cubbies will be the start of a long winning streak, right?

Friday, July 26, 2013

Ouch, that hurts

Tough tough game for Brandon Belt. Nice to see Matt Cain back to being Matt Cain, though

Doomed by the lack of depth

CSN Bay Area's Andrew Baggarly has a pretty cutting indictment of the Giants front office, which simply did not plan for the fact that the starting rotation has been worn down and that the replacements for the everyday position players were not up to snuff. He filed this in the wake of today's Moscoso signing....

It looks to me like Brian Sabean got a little fat-headed after winning two World Series rings in 3 year. Here's most of the post -- 


Moscoso is not a name like Carlos Beltran or Hunter Pence, the Giants’ signature moves at the trade deadline the previous two deadlines. Then again, the Giants are not in the same position this time.
They have the worst record in the major leagues since May 14 and their 4.75 rotation ERA is the highest in the National League. The pitchers might be paying the toll for the heavy workload the previous couple years, and figuratively, the bridge is out between Fresno and San Francisco.
Brian Sabean was concerned about the Giants’ lack of depth, when the season began, the longtime GM told KNBR on Friday.
“I knew going into the season that our depth was perhaps questionable,” Sabean said. “I knew most of our prospects were at the lower level and the guys at Double-A and Triple-A needed development time. When things started going haywire we just literally ran out of players and we’ve been scrambling with each subsequent move.”
Their lack of depth has been most acute in the rotation. Mike Kickham, Chris Heston and Eric Surkamp haven’t been ready to compete in the big leagues, and the one successful six-year minor league free agent the Giants signed before spring training, Chad Gaudin, already is in the rotation because of Ryan Vogelsong’s broken pinky.
“We thought Kickham would be more able to start in the big leagues and he was not,” Sabean told KNBR. “We thought Surkamp would come faster than he did after Tommy John and he did not. Therein, we were exposed. We tried to sign some six-year free agents and a lot of the guys have gone to the big leagues with other teams and are pitching with other teams.”
It’s really hurt the Giants that some of their better prospects, such as Gary Brown and Heath Hembree, have stalled out. Angel Pagan is on the DL, Santiago Casilla missed two months following surgery, and ideally, that’s when you plug in your most talented players from the minors. The Giants haven’t had those options because they didn't feel either player was ready to compete in the big leagues.
All you have to do is glance at the standings to understand the importance of organizational depth. Look at the Cardinals. They’ve used just as many players as the Giants as they dealt with injuries. But their minor leaguers have been capable at minimum, and often much more than that.

Guillermo Moscoso in the Orange and Black

It looks like the Giants are hoping for Moscoso to duplicate what Chad Gaudin has done so far -- long relief and spot starting. Henry Schulman of the SF Chron offers his analysis-- 


Whether or not the Giants trade a Tim Lincecum or a Chad Gaudin by Wednesday’s deadline, they need to fortify their stable of pitchers until some of their lower-level prospects (Edwin Escobar, Clayton Blackburn, Kyle Crick) are ready to compete for big-league jobs.
Moscoso has had some success in the majors. He had a healthy 3.38 ERA and 1.094 WHIP with the A’s in 2011. They traded him to the Rockies for Seth Smith. As a flyball pitcher he struggled at Coors Field and was claimed on waivers three times over the winter, ultimately by the Cubs.
He went 7-5 with a 3.93 ERA in 17 starts for Iowa. The Giants are expected to add him to the 25-man roster Saturday and place him in the bullpen. If the Giants need a spot start, or even decide to rest their stalwarts if they fall out of contention, they could stick Moscoso in the rotation to see what they have.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Dodgers start losing streak

The Reds handled them 5-2 tonight. Eat it, Dodger fans. Eat it raw. Hey, how about that Carlos Marmol? He sucked in his Dodger debut. Or old pal Mat Latos made the dodgers look sick.-- 



Latos retired nine of his first 10 batters before Yasiel Puig led off the Dodgers' fourth with a broken-bat single to center.

Hasta la vista, Javier? Hunter?

Two months of the worst MLB record

It's time to beat up the Cubs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

No wonder we Giants have been in such a lousy mood! Henry Schulman of the SF Chron reports that the Giants have been the lousiest team in the MLB for the last 60 games -- around the time that Pagan and Vogelsong got hurt.

The Orange and Black scored 3 runs tonight on 15 hits. Here's the gist of Schulman's coverage ...


With Wednesday night’s 8-3 loss, which mercifully ended their season series with the far superior Cincinnati Reds, the Giants extended a run of mediocrity and ineptitude that has lasted more than 60 games.
That’s two months with the worst record in the majors, leaving them a season-worst 7 ½ games out of first place with three teams ahead of them.
The calendar says the Giants still have time. Common sense says otherwise, unless they can sweep the rebuilding Chicago Cubs this weekend and the Reds’ band of merry mayhem makers can inflict the same pain on the Dodgers in four games in Los Angeles as they have this season on the Giants.
Cincinnati won six of the seven games by an aggregate score of 45-14.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

No road vic for you, Zito

Funny thing that tonight's second game -- a makeup of a rainout in Cincy -- was started by Barry Zito as a road game. True to form, Zito couldn't get out of 5th and had to give way to the pen. That means he still hasn't gotten a road victory this year.  Thankfully, the Giants finally broke a 3-game losing streak with a 5-3 win.

MEMO TO BRIAN SABEAN -- Do NOT exercise the option on this Head Case Hall of Famer.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Brian Wilson back in the Orange and Black?

Well, as the season looks worse and worse, here's an interesting development -- Brian Wilson returning.

It could happen. John Shea of the SF Chronicle reports that he's been throwing for the Giants coaches and that Jeremy Affeldt is expected to be out for 6 weeks. 

Here's part of it -- odd that he's saying that Wilson "appears a little bigger" as in "he looks out of shape."

 Wilson is a free agent and can sign with any team. A future session in front of multiple scouts is in the works. As for the Giants, manager Bruce Bochy has expressed a desire for bullpen help. Jeremy Affeldt is shelved for six weeks. The Giants’ sessions with Wilson, who appears a little bigger,  was not just a courtesy.

And there's no mention of whether or not he still has that big beard.... 

A kick in the teeth to Tim's fans

Well, THAT sucked

"What sucked?" you ask. I write this with the Giants down 8-0 in the top of the 4th and George Kontos trying to get out of the inning after Tim Lincecum followed his no-hitter with his lousiest outing of the year.

To hear Jon Miller tell it, Gregor Blanco should have caught the first batter's double (Choo) and Andres Torres should have caught the 3-run triple (Frazier) in the first. But the return of the Cy Young Lincecum? Maybe I got a little carried away....

But the final line is three and two thirds innnings -- 78 pitches, 9 hits, 8 earned runs, 3 Home runs, two strikeouts, 1 walk.UGLY

Bad luck is the new normal for the 2013 Giants

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Randall Delgado?

Really? The guy shuts out the Orange and Black today for a 3-1 vic to lift his lifetime record to 7-13 in his third MLB season. It's annoying when the Giants make a guy like Randall Delgado who's not very good look like the second coming of Sandy Koufax. 

What's especially annoying was a bonehead decision by Tim Flanney to send Buster Posey home from first on a double by Sandoval -- with NO ONE OUT -- so he could thrown out the plate in the 5th. Just plain stupid, no excuse whatsover.

UPDATE -- Flannery took the blame in the clubhouse, according to the beat writers. I don't feel much better because he killed what could have been a big inning right there and wasted another fine start by Bumgarner.

Andrew Owens of MLB.com reports in his game story that Delgado has been pitching effectively enough not to get sent back to the minors.    

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The return of the old Matt Cain

With the Giants starting the game 7 under .500 and Matt Cain on the skids, this one was huge. 

That guy who was so great in 2010-12? Yeah, that guy. He's back, per the SF Chron's Henry Schulman -- the lead paragraphs say it all -- 

For the assembled throng at AT&T Park, no sight could have been more reassuring Saturday night than Matt Cain reaching 102 pitches and striking out Paul Godschmidt with a 93-mph fastball.
Nine days off seemed to remedy what ailed Cain, be it poor mechanics, arm discomfort or both. After lasting two-thirds of an inning in his final start of the first half, he pitched into the sixth and ended a five-game winless streak.
Buster Posey hit a two-run homer in the Giants' 4-3 victory over the Diamondbacks, their fifth win in six games, which assured them consecutive series victories for the first time in nearly two months.

MC OConner at Raising (Matt) has some good recap, too --


Matt Cain threw 102 pitches in his five-plus innings, laboring with long counts and a strike zone the size of a potato. In the 5th, a blown double play allowed a run to score and extended the inning, and the 31 pitches seemed to do him in. He was gassed in the 6th and gave up back-to-back leadoff hits, one of the runners scoring after Cain was pulled. A little better luck and a little bit sharper command (four walks) and maybe Matty gets through six without help. The Giants put together a quick run in the 1st with a clutch hit from Pablo Sandoval, squeaked out another run in the 4th on a bases-loaded walk, and got the big blow (2-run HR) they really needed from Buster Posey in the 5th. The D-Backs kept the pressure on with a run in the 9th but it wasn't enough. It took seven relievers and 77 pitches to get the last 12 outs.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Baseball as a metaphor for life in America

The BBC has an interesting post from one of their writers, Simon Wilson, who sees the game as a strong reflection of how Americans deal with life--

I have come to realise over six years of intense study (and it has to be said the occasional pitch-side beer and hot dog) is the key point about baseball.
As a sport, it is really all about failure. Or more precisely how the players psychologically handle failure - the fact that they are going to miss the ball more often than they hit it.
And as I have sat in the stands over the years, I have begun to realise just why there is such a rich tradition of treating baseball as a metaphor for life in America.
Just as their baseball players do, Americans are adept at picking themselves up
This is indeed the land of opportunity where children grow up being told what a "great job" they are doing and how they might all be president one day.
Which is all fine of course, except that for many, perhaps for most Americans, success never really comes.

"Good pitching, good defense, 2 runs"

That's how Duane Kuiper summarized tonight's glorious 2-0 vic over the Dbacks to start the second half of the season. Chad Gaudin showed he's the real deal as a starter with 7 shutout innings and now has a 4-1 record -- and 4-0 as a starter, per the SF Chron.

The Giants are still 7 games under .500 at 44-51 but they are also only 5 and half games back in the NL West.

They're all big games now -- particularly with Matt Cain going tomorrow after going into the break with a couple of horrific starts. Madison Bumgarner goes after win No. 11 on Sunday. 

Sabean says he's not trading Lincecum

Brian Sabean says a trade is not happening, per the SF Chronicle. I would imagine that the recent return of that dominant pitcher had something to do with that. 

Sports Illustrated is predicting the Giants will reverse their late June-early July lousiness and wind up 83-79...and miss the playoffs. Sounds to me like an improved Lincecum's part of that calculation ....

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Jeff Francouer?

I'm still not sure what to make of this signing. He's been in the MLB since 2005 and racked up a WAR (wins above replacement) of 7.8, thanks to having three seasons above 3.0 -- 2005, 2007 and 2011, when he hit 47 doubles for the KC Royals. Maybe the front office thinks he's still got some gap power. 

The 2011 season was pretty good -- 20 HRs, 87 RBIs and 22 of 32 in stolen bases. But he was crappy last year and was having a totally dismal season so far this year with a slash line of .208/.249/.322, including 3 HRs, 13 RBIs and 8 walks in 193 plate appearances. But he's only 29, so maybe the front office is hoping for another Marco Scutaro-type resurgence once he put on the Orange and Black. The Royals released him on July 5, so they have to eat the rest of his $7.5 million salary. So it's a low-cost risk.

He also has a web site -- www.jefffrancouer.com -- that hasn't been updated since last year, should you want to see what he looks like in a KC uni. 

"I forget my age most of the time"

That's Madison Bumgarner talking to Alex Pavlovic at the Sam Jose Mercury-News. Damn straight. It's stunning to think that he's not even 24 and is the ace of the staff. Here's some of the verbiage on a fine piece from the All-Star game. MadBum didn't pitch last night, which is just fine by me....

Bumgarner, midway through his third full season, already has 46 wins and has pitched 15 scoreless innings in two World Series victories. He is an accomplished and mature pitcher, but when he lines up for his first All-Star Game, he will also be the second youngest of 35 pitchers on the field. Only 20-year-old Miami rookie Jose Fernandez was born after Bumgarner’s August 1, 1989 birthdate.
“He’s a phenom,” said Hunter Pence, a two-time All-Star. “But nobody notices because of how humble he is. He’s humble and he’s also a superstar. That’s a rare thing.”
The description is one that’s given over and over again as teammates are asked to describe Bumgarner’s ascension to ace status during a rough first half. Bumgarner is said to be one of the first players to the park every day, already deep into lifting, running, video study or mechanical work as others show up.
“You never see him satisfied,” Ryan Vogelsong said.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Zito the head case

How is it that Bruce Bochy can EVER use Barry Zito on the road again?

His ERA this year is close to 10.00 away from AT and T Park. Bottom line -- there's not THAT much difference in parks .... unless you're a head case like Zito.

He had the good fortune last year to get great run support. Let him keep starting in SF. Bring up some kid from Single A if you have to have his spot on the road, Bruce.

Henry Schulman of the SF Chron doesn't really mention how bad Zito was today in his game story. 


"Get him out of there!"

Thankfully, Bruce Bochy used a quick hook today to get an extremely ineffective Barry Zito out of the game in the bottom of the third, after he'd given up three runs on four hits and two walks, getting all of six outs -- one on a pickoff.

With the Giants desperately needing every single win and Zito always a question mark outside San Francisco, I was delighted to see Jake Dunning come in. 

Filthy Tim

Henry Schulman's blog for the SF Chronicle includes these nuggets that suggest that Lincecum may have finally figured out how to be the dominating guy he once was. Boldface is mine.. -- 

I’m no Nostradamus and I didn’t call the no-hitter. I’ve just been watching a pitcher who has gotten progressively better at using what he has, a fastball that rarely exceeds 91 mph, an excellent splitter-change, a slider that’s good when he throws it in the dirt, a curveball that he sometimes busts out and a lot of pitching know-how.

Lincecum’s 148 pitches was his career high and the most by a Giant since Vida Blue threw 153 on July 22, 1979 and the most by any big-league pitcher since Arizona’s Edwin Jackson threw 149 when he no-hit Tampa Bay on June 25, 2010. Bochy said he might redo his yet-unannounced second-half rotation to give Lincecum an extra day or two to recover.

Lincecum induced a career-high 29 swings and misses and struck out 13, one fewer than Matt Cain had in his perfect game last year.

 Posey on Lincecum: “He just seemed to really settle in and got into a good groove. As a rule in baseball, once you get to 100 pitches, maybe it’s time to shut it down. Timmy proved tonight he can still be good well past that.”

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Streaky strikeout Tim

 Chris Haft of mlb.com makes the point that Lincecum struck out 13 of the final 20 outs he made --

Entering Saturday's game with an 11-5 record, a 2.34 ERA and a .206 opponents' batting average against the Padres, Lincecum should have felt comfortable against his opposition. But the groove he settled into was one that he had rarely found in this erratic season.
"I felt fine from that first pitch, just a little sweaty," Lincecum said.
It was the Giants' second no-hitter against San Diego. Jonathan Sanchez, Lincecum's former colleague in San Francisco's starting rotation, stifled the Padres at AT&T Park on July 10, 2009.
Lincecum showed hints of lapsing in the seventh, though he began the inning by claiming Yonder Alonso as his 11th strikeout victim. Jedd Gyorko, the next batter, hit a skyscraping fly ball that left fielder Gregor Blanco caught just in front of the warning track.
Will Venable followed by smacking a sharp grounder that third baseman Pablo Sandoval backhanded behind the bag before making a strong throw to first base for the inning-ending out.
With one out to go in the sixth, Lincecum already had struck out 10, marking the 34th time in his career he had reached double digits. Every Padres hitter except Quentin had gone down on strikes.
Lincecum didn't record his first strikeout until Venable, the seventh hitter he faced, went down swinging. Then it was like trying to stop a river. Lincecum proceeded to strike out six consecutive Padres, matching a career best he reached on June 23, 2011, against Minnesota. For emphasis, each of those victims went down swinging.
Lincecum continued to hold the Padres spellbound through the seventh while striking out at least one batter per inning. Quentin snapped Lincecum's six-strikeout streak with a grounder to third, but Alonso went down looking to end the fourth.
Lincecum also fanned Jedd Gyorko to start the fifth and Logan Forsythe to open the sixth.
Through it all, the closest semblances to a hit the Padres mustered were Alonso's loud fly ball to medium-deep center field leading off the second inning and Quentin's line drive to shortstop that concluded the sixth.
Pitching from the stretch position is a task that has challenged Lincecum this season. But he recovered after each of the first three walks he issued, retiring the next hitter on every occasion.

A 148-pitch masterpiece

Chris Haft of mlb.com includes an interesting chart in his story of Lincecum's no-hitter -- it was the second-highest number of pitches thrown in a no-hitter since 1947.

Edwin Jackson ARI TB 6/25/10 149
Tim Lincecum SF SD 7/13/13 148
Randy Johnson SEA DET 6/2/90 138
Sandy Koufax LAD NYM 6/30/62 138
Johan Santana NYM STL 6/1/12 134
Bud Smith STL SD 9/3/01 134
Dwight Gooden NYY SEA 5/14/96 134
Kent Mercker ATL LAD 4/8/94 131
Andy Hawkins NYY CWS 4/8/94 131
Jon Lester BOS KC 5/19/08 130










Three in a row and a no-no

Three days ago, the 2013 season was close being in shambles. Now, Tim Lincecum has thrown a no-hitter, a thing of beauty, and us fans have to wonder...is the Cy Young guy back?

If he is, that's a lot.  

Nice lead by Henry Schulman of the SF Chronicle --  - A year ago, Tim Lincecum lurched into the All-Star break as the worst pitcher in the majors by ERA. This year, he will be basking in history.
With thousands of Giants fans screaming for him at Petco Park, and armed with the swing-and-miss stuff that earned him two Cy Young awards, Lincecum on Saturday night became the 15th Giant to throw a no-hitter, the first since Matt Cain's perfect game last year.
The Giants won 9-0 to forge their first three-game winning streak in more than two months.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Two in a row!

Yes, for the first time since June 18 and 19, the Giants have racked up back to back wins, thanks to a 10-1 laugher at Petco. Gregor Blanco scored 4 times and Posey drove in 5. Jose Mijares relieved Gaudin with the bases loaded and no one out and got out of the inning on 8 pitches.

It was only the 5th win in 18 games for the Orange and Black.

What's even better -- the dodgers just LOST 3-0 at Chavez Latrine. 

Madison Bumgarner, All-Star

He's one of the few Giants who have remained reliable during this horrific stretch, winning the first game Saturday's vic over the Dodgers by the same 4-2 score. Bumgarner also won that one.

I was at work when I saw the Padres put two in the bottom of the first and thought, "Oh for God's sake, can't anyone on this team play any more?"

But that was it for the Padres as Madison won his 10th and more than justified his selection as an All-Star. Not to overstate but this may have been the biggest win of the year.

Chris Haft of mlb.com notes that the Giants have now won six of his last 7 starts ...

 
Bumgarner (10-5) overcame a shaky first inning and improved to 6-1 in his last seven starts. The left-hander retired 20 of the final 21 Padres he faced in his seven-inning outing. The only Giants starter to win a decision since June 14, Bumgarner has stopped four-game losing streaks in each of his last two outings.
Bumgarner was slow to find a groove in the first inning, and the Padres capitalized by scoring twice. Chris Denorfia and Chase Headley singled with one out before Carlos Quentin belted an RBI double. Jesus Guzman drew an intentional walk to load the bases before Kyle Blanks' fielder's-choice grounder scored Headley.
Pablo Sandoval halved the difference by homering to christen the fourth inning. It was Sandoval's first long ball since May 21, ending a homerless streak of 101 at-bats.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

What's the matter with Matt Cain?

He's not himself. Grant Bisbee at McCovey Chronicles says he may be injured. 

But Matt told the San Jose Mercury News after the game that he's not injured. Damn, I want to believe himn that this is just a really unlucky stretch....

-Q: You looked kind of stunned out there. Was that the sensation–the team’s playing like this, and you have an outing like that, is that a little stunning to you?
-CAIN: Yeah, it is. The way that we think we are as a group, and the team that we are, we feel like this is really, really funky.
We know we’re a lot better than we are; to go out there and have an outing like that is really disappointing and it’s kind of hard to swallow. But you’ve got to get over it.
-Q: Can you put your finger on any one reason why the team is playing this way?
-CAIN: All of ‘em. We’re not doing a lot of things right. It seems that everything’s going wrong. We’re not pitching, we’re not fielding, we’re not getting hits, we’re not doing everything. And it’s definitely showing.
-Q: You’ve been here through some of the rough times. Is this as frustrated as you’ve been?
-CAIN: Yeah, this is probably the worst that I’ve seen in the years that we’ve been here. This is a pretty bad skid and we’ve got to find a way out of it pretty quick.
-Q: What will the next week or so be like for you until your next start?
-CAIN: Just go about my work. Try to really get over these past two and move from it and try to in a way use the All-Star break as a break and get over it and then start over again next half.


It's hard to believe that two months ago, these guys were 23-15 after a 5-1 vic over ATL. 

They were 37-34 three weeks ago after a nice 4-2 vic over the Padres with Bumgarner getting his 7th win; they've gone 3-16 since then with Bumgarner getting two of those.  
 

Is it time for an Orange and Black fire sale?

The ever-reliable Lefty Malo has a nice post summing up how badly things are going -- so much so that serious fans have to wonder if a fire sale is coming. Here are the first few paragraphs -- 

I just got back from a week in the wilderness of triple-digit Northern California. I made it out just fine, but the Giants apparently are still wandering, heat-stroked.

I had an inkling of what was happening with my favorite team, but two-day old sports pages and second-hand accounts have a way of blunting the impact. I got home Sunday just in time to turn on the radio and hear the final three innings against the Dodgers. In the ninth, Sergio Romo's hanging slider hadn't even rolled to the wall off the bat of AJ Ellis, and I had already reverted back to my previous state: I pushed the car radio button, and I was instantly a million miles away from places where you get a big Yasiel shoved up your Puig even when, most of the time, you do things right, like match Clayton Kershaw pitch for pitch and strike out the aforementioned Puig in more than half his at-bats.

I'm not saying this season is a goner. Weird things happen. But I am saying that weird things
have to happen at this point for the Giants to jump over four teams, all of which have either a bounty of farm talent or cash (or both) to make trades that bolster their second-half rosters.

One more bad series, and frankly, folks, the tide should start flowing the opposite way. Ebb it, Sabes, ebb it. There will be plenty of talk-radio talk of moving Tim Lincecum to a contender that wants the Tim Lincecum of the 2012 Playoffs, because, hey, who wouldn't want that guy, and of course he's going to be that good again and the Giants will get a good prospect and 8.5 million or whatever dollars off their books.

Paging Matt Cain

Matt -- What the hell was that? Seven batters, two hits, three walks, two outs and lifted for MIKE KICKHAM, who shouldn't even be in the bigs?


Please, please, please

I'm begging the baseball gods for just one win.

Last night's 10-6 loss came courtesy of a grand slam given up by Jake Dunning, who probably should not be pitching in the bigs. 

I'm not linking to Bruce Jenkins brainless story on general principles. What an idiot. 

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Tanaka in the Orange and Black

The unlucky 16th

Brutal game for the good guys ended early today in a 4-3 loss. My PC wasn't even able handle it -- it froze up on the error that Crawford made, which let the winning run score. 

The Giants can't seem to buy a win right now and the notion of Jeff Francouer salvaging the season seems far-fetched. He's going to play in Frenso, where he'll probably kill Pacific Coast League pitching.

May 31, 1964

With tonight's game now in the 16th, it seems like a good time to post a link to the box score from the 23-inning game played at Shea and won 8-6 by the Giants. 

Willie Mays went 1 for 10. Dell Crandall, an 8-time All Star with the Braves who played for the Giants in 1964, got the big hit in the 23rd. 

Monday, July 08, 2013

I really don't care ....

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Close but no cigar

What else is there to day but "Let's go beat the Mets tomorrow"?

I tend to be Pollyannish about the team when things are going badly. For example, Chad Gaudin has returned and pitched superbly. But ...  

The Giants' latest winning streak -- a red-hot one -- vanished on one horrific swing Sunday afternoon. There's a brutal game story by Henry Schulman of the SF Chron -- 

The great Dodgers-Giants rivalry has swung like a pendulum over the decades. At times they have been evenly matched. Other times, one has held sway over the other head to head and in the standings.
A long period of the Giants on top appears to be waning, along with their ability to win games or even score runs.
After sweeping the Giants in Los Angeles on the last trip, the Dodgers ended a series win at AT&T Park with one devastating swing and a 4-1 victory.

Friday, July 05, 2013

15-30

Yep -- that is the road record for the Orange and Black this year per Henry Schulman's story of yesterday's rain out in Cincinnati. 

Gregor Blanco0-for-22Last hit was in first game of road trip1-for-24
Brandon Crawford0-for-21Last hit was June 25 in L.A.2-for-28
Buster Posey0-for-12Last hit was 3rd-inning HR on Sunday11-for-31
Hunter Pence0-for-10Two hits in his past 25 at-bats6-for-32
Pablo Sandoval0-for-10One hit in past 30 at-bats3-for-33
Marco Scutaro0-for-7Three hits in his past 7 games3-for-26
Juan Perez0-for-32-for-23 in his past 9 games1-for-12

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Giants don't lose on 4th of July

It's raining in Cincinnati and the game has been called, thus ending one of the most nightmarish road trips that I can recall

Happy 4th of July, by the way

CSNBay Area's Andrew Baggarly has a video about how Gary Brown isn't going to be called up any time soon per the front office. Oddly, it's on a "Giants Notes" post that has nothing about Gary Brown in it ....but it is a pretty good lead ....

If you lived through Giants baseball in 1978, you'll recall it wasn't exactly a golden era. That year included the last and only other time that they were held to just seven measly hits over a three-game span. 
That’s what the Giants have squeezed out over three games at Great American Ball Park. A third of their lineup – Brandon Crawford, Gregor Blanco and Pablo Sandoval – are towing a combined 1 for 73 slump that defies ... wait, let me triple-check those numbers. Yep. It's 1 for 73.

I admire Baggarly for staying on top of it .... only problem is that he's WRONG about the 1978 Giants. That was a team that contended all season following 4 straight losing seasons. Jack Clark, Bill Madlock, Darrell 
Evans, Vida Blue and Bob Knepper all had outstanding years. Stretch was back and hitting homers (12 HRs and 64 RBIs). It was an exciting time at the Stick!

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

50 years ago and a day

Man, this stretch of the season has gotten so awful that I'm posting a link to a fine McCovey Chronicles story about the legendary game that Warren Spahn and Juan Marichal threw on July 2, 1963. 

Grant Bisbee does his usual fine job --  The only thing wrong with the Spahn/Marichal game is that Spahn wasn't on the Dodgers and Tommy Lasorda wasn't eaten by a pterodactyl, but those are the minor quibbles. Seven Hall of Famers played in the game: Eddie Mathews, Hank Aaron, Orlando Cepeda, Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Spahn, and Marichal. It ended on a Mays homer, which is just perfect.

"carousel of failure"

Rios, Peavy in the Orange and Black?

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

"Get some hits"

That's what Brandon Crawford told the SF chron's Henry Schulman that the Giants need to do.

It's just a single game. If any Reds fans are reading this, let me point out -- The last the Giants were in Cincinnati, they won the NLDS. The Reds haven't won a World Series 23 years.  

Hard to notice in a no-hitter, but Tim Lincecum has started pitching decently per Chris Haft's story for mlb.com --

San Francisco received a capable effort from Lincecum (4-9), who struck out eight in 5 1/3 innings. Lincecum nevertheless absorbed his sixth consecutive road defeat as he allowed six hits and all of Cincinnati's runs.

Monday, July 01, 2013

Brandon Belt is the real deal

Amidst one of the worst stretches of ball within recent memory, Brandon Belt has stepped it up per Andrew Baggarly of CSN Bay Area --

Belt found the right field seats against Bronson Arroyo for the only run in the Giants’ 8-1, six-inning, small-mammal-precipitation-shortened loss to the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Natatorium and Salmon Fishery Monday night.
The game was official and the stats count, which is important because Belt’s home run was his ninth of the season – already matching his career high. And the Giants have played 82 games with 80 to go.
“It tells me I’m getting better,” said Belt, who has been a different hitter since mid-May. “That’s the main thing. I was better last year than the year before and I’m better this year than last year. Obviously, there’s a lot more I want to do. So I’ll try to stay concentrated on that.” ....


Belt is batting .366 over his last 13 games and he’s a .417 hitter on this road trip. No doubt, the Giants will need to explore the idea of playing him in left field more often. On nights when he doesn’t need a snorkel, maybe.

OK, THAT didn't work

The Mike Kickham experiment flamed out tonight in a throughly depressing 8-1 6-inning loss

He told Andrew Baggarly of CSN Bay Area that it was just a matter of "adjusting a few things."

Yeah, right. Good luck with that. In FRESNO.   

Here's the key paragraph --

 Kickham had a 1-2-3 first inning, and impressively struck out former MVP Joey Votto on a 3-2 fastball on the outside edge. But the Reds were 9 for 12 against him after that; he got the hook trailing 7-0 with two outs in the third inning, and his ERA is 13.94.

Best news of the day -- Ryan Vogelsong is coming back in about 4 weeks, per the SF Chron. Whoo-hoo!